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Gana, Ibidapo-Obe, others seek restructuring to breed credible, competent leadership

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With leadership made up of core values and competence that can be inherent and learned, renowned academia and economic leaders have stressed on the need for clear cut reforms to encourage and groom leaders for the next generation and beyond.

This they say will require character, competence, credibility, creativity, courage, compassion, consistency, and conduct. It also seeks personalities with vision, passion, perservance, patience, resilience, wisdom, sound knowledge, good reputation and a profound sense of honour.

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Hence, the Nigerian Prize for Leadership (NPL) in its 3rd National Leadership Dialogue Series, titled: Rethinking Leadership: focus on competence, governance and impact on society, held a webinar to proffer solutions to the leadership deficit in the nation.

Vice chairman of, NPL and four-time minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof. Jerry Gana said that the country has credible leaders but has a problem with the selection and electoral processes involved in bringing up leaders. “This is the major problem with the processes of leadership emergence in Nigeria, it is an extremely remote area we have to look into to redefine, reform and refurbish and put in place new systems to ensure the electoral processes are credible to bring the best leadership.

“If we fail to reform the electoral system, our democracy may become meaningless and irrelevant. The effectiveness of the electoral system of a nation is central to the good health of that democracy. Hence this requires very serious attention and we hope the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) can achieve this mandate.”

Prof. Gana who served as the guest speaker stressed on the need to develop sound programmes where leaders can acquire relevant skills adding that they should be humble enough to learn.

“Given our political terrain, a lot of credible people do not want to occupy political positions, they don’t want to commit moral suicide, hence we need a reform that will motivate them to be a part of a better Nigeria and change leadership.”

Chairman, technical team of experts and former vice chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. Oye Ibidapo-Obe, noted that Nigeria is not short of leaders but those who are not ready to get their hands soiled for a reputational advantage, hence there must be a mechanism from the ‘burdened elders’ to support and encourage the younger generation.

While relating culture and leadership, he said that schools used to teach that there is beauty in diversity and told to embrace other people’s cultures, is no longer the case today as universities have lost their universality to become village centers. “We need to have fundamental restructuring in terms of what universities should have and we need to work on emerging leaders to handle this.”

Ibidapo-Obe said that while lack of education causes ignorance in leadership, leaders should engage in self development and experiences of people (elders) who have been there before to develop their competences. This is critical to real leadership.

He stated that the state of infrastructure in public primary and secondary schools today have become a problem and unfortunately, those in private institutions will live in the same society with them. Leadership should work towards creating a balance as public schools in the past used to be admired. “We should look at teacher’s appreciation; the lives of our children are in their hands, we need to make them more comfortable.”

While founder of Women in Successful Careers (WISCAR), Amina Oyagbola advised that we need to look away from the concept of sharing the national cake to building institutions and systems that work.

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“We need merit based systems that harp on capacity and ensure no one is left behind which should include women in politics that have been dominated by men. Women make up 50 per cent of the population and have proven to manage the COVID-19 pandemic situation better and this is evident in countries led by women.”

Executive Secretary of the NPL, Dr. Ike Neliaku added that the platform will provide the leadership competences the nation needs just as many leadership experts have argued that the basis of leadership is competence else one cannot exhume the confidence to lead.

For student’s representative and President, National Association of Nigerian Students, Danielson Akpan, enjoined worthy leaders to make themselves available to mentor those who want to serve.

Akpan who is the current leader of the 40 year old association, said banning students from awarding individuals and corporations who were not deserving in a bid to get some money out of them have sanitized the system and need seek guidance to further drive the desired change the nation requires.

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